Hubert Hoche

rarescale's Artistic Director, Carla Rees, talks to German composer Hubert Hoche ahead of the UK premiere of 4 is 1 too few for quartet at The Forge Camden on 7th January 2015
What attracts you to rarescale as an ensemble?
I heard rarescale for the first time last September. The ensemble performed my piece 4 is 1 too few in Düsseldorf-Germany and I was so surprised about the emotionality of playing contemporary music. As I began to compose the piece, I was very sceptical whether it makes sense to compose a work with a quartertone language. It was very interesting and delightful! But the realization was the question! Can an ensemble play that really well? The result was an amazing performance from rarescale and so I’m glad to hear my piece again next Wednesday (7th January). rarescale is worth a the journey from Germany to London. Absolutely!

Who are your main influences?
Brahms, Lutoslwaski, Feldman, Reich, Adams

Who inspires you?
Eddie van Halen, Ritchie Blackmore, Neal Schon, Kansas, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Stravinsky, Cage, Ligeti, Penderecki, Lutoslwaski, Feldman, Reich, Adams, Lachenmann, Pärt, every musican I ever worked with

Tell us about the background of your piece – how did it come to be written and what’s it all about?
The composition 4 is 1 too few was composed in behalf of Musik21. Musik21 is an organisation in Düsseldorf. The requirement was the employment of quartertones. That was very interesting. But the list of instruments was very interesting too. Guitar, alto flute, bass clarinet and english horn, very exotic and delightful. My first idea was the number “5”. I don’t know why because the topic was quartertones and the ensemble was a quartet. For me it was clear that the number 5 is important. So the 5/4 time signature and quintuplets are important elements. That is the reason of the wordplay in the title. The use of strict structures is important for my compositional language. Also it becomes even more important for me to feel and hear a pulse.

How does this work relate to your other compositional output?
4 is 1 too few is a special composition because it was the first piece I composed using quartertones. The experience was very important for my development.

What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I'm writing a piece for concert band. The duration is 50 minutes and it is a multimediaproject with a group of dancers embedded in lights and pictures. The first performance will be in 2016.

How do you see the role of new music in modern society?
Like ever, I think it is very important for the development of music and it is music for a small and interested audience because the listening habit does not correspond to that of most people. I hope that the promotion conditions for new music improve again and the politicians become more conscious for the significance of education of the general population.

What made you become a composer?
I don’t know it just happened.

Hubert's website